Deputy Tony McLoughlin
Fine Gael TD for Sligo-Leitrim, Tony McLoughlin, has today announced his intention to support Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar in the Fine Gael Leadership race.
Speaking after announcing his intentions on RTE Radio One, the Fine Gael Party Assistant Whip said that “I believe that both Leo and Simon are of a particularly high calibre and that both men could lead this party to new horizons if given the opportunity to do so.
“However, I believe that in politics, difficult choices have to be made for the good of the country, and this is one of these difficult decisions. After discussing the leadership race with my team, my family and my close party members over the past number of months, I believe that supporting Leo Varadkar for leader is in the best interests of the Fine Gael Party, the best interests of the people of the Sligo – Leitrim Constituency and the best interests of the country.
"For me personally, I have always found Leo to be a very approachable Minister, whatever the localised issue I contacted him about.
“This goes as far back as when he was appointed Minister for Transport in 2011, where he introduced the 9% Vat Rate for the Tourism sector which has led to the creation of jobs in Sligo Leitrim. He was instrumental in delivering the ‘Wild Atlantic Way Project and he personally agreed to begin heavily funding the N4 Collooney – Castlebaldwin road upgrade in Sligo.
“Then as soon as he was appointed as Minister for Health, I met with him to discuss two urgent issues in my office. After years of being personally let down by the Department of Health, he agreed to oversee the delivery of both a vital ‘GP 24 Hour Service’ for the region along with the return of a follow up mammography service in Sligo University Hospital.
“As Minister for Social Protection, he has visited me in Sligo and ensured the future viability of the large Social Protection office in Sligo along with setting out exciting new plans for the self-employed here.
“He has also introduced a new paternity benefit for new fathers and overseen the first increase in the State pension in almost a decade.
“I am pledging to vote for Leo Varadkar, as I firmly believe that he possesses great ability, charisma and vision to go along with having the important ability of being able to remain in touch with the working people of Ireland," concluded McLoughlin.